For the third consecutive Tuesday, Matt Wisler toed the rubber for the Braves. After two extreme Tuesday performances, the first on the terrible side and the second on the fantastic side, he settled into his median tonight and pitched okayâ€”not good enough to win with this bunch, but decent enough that you’d be thrilled to get that out of your pitcher 4 out of every 5 nights. He went 8 innings and gave up solo runs in the 4th, 5th, and 8th innings. He made one really terrible mistake to Maikel Franco in the 8th when he hung a pitch that Franco crushed to left field, but otherwise looked pretty good.
The Braves offense, meanwhile, was stymied by the fearsome Adam Morgan, he of the career 5-7 record and 4.63 ERA. They managed to squeeze a run out of a first-and-third, no-outs situation in the 4th, when Tyler Flowers grounded into a double play to score Ender Inciarte, but otherwise looked pretty helpless. Freddie Freeman tacked on the Braves other run when he hit a home run in the 9th, but since he led off the inning, his efforts were not enough to overcome the 8 previous innings of offensive ineptness displayed by his fellow batsmen.
Having Inciarte back in centerfield has been fun for fans of good defense, and he provided some classic defensive entertainment in the 6th inning when he faked Carlos Ruiz into getting doubled off of first on a routine fly ball to right center. The play at 1st was not even all that close. If the Braves are going to loseâ€”and they are, a lotâ€”they need to start incorporating more moments like that one into their games, because those are what make losses worth watching.
The rest of the series with the Phillies should be good, since the two teams are pretty evenly matched offensively. It’s nice to see the Braves fighting someone their own size instead of someone much, much bigger than they are. The first five weeks of this season were especially brutal, but they inoculated me enough to losing that I can’t even muster up the smallest amount of outrage over a loss that lowered the Braves winning percentage to .226.
There are so many questions swirling around this team right now. Just how low will that winning percentage manage to go? Just how many games into the season will it be before the Braves pick up their second home win? Will the Braves be able to win more games this year than the Cubs lose? The suspense is enough to keep me watching.